Reading and Music list 2013

February - March 2013

I first heard about this book through the late Michelle Blumenthal, a darling of a friend who unfortunately left us and this world too quickly and too soon. It was the first time she came to our flat just after we moved and we spent hours and hours chatting. Well more of me listening to her talk because she was such a fascinating, learned, cultured woman.

David bought me this book for my birthday. Here is the excerpt from Amazon -

Published now for the first time, the controversial memoir of Sinologist Sir Edmund Backhouse, Decadence Mandchoue, provides a unique and shocking glimpse into the hidden world of China’s imperial palace with its rampant corruption, grand conspiracies and uninhibited sexuality. Backhouse was made notorious by Hugh Trevor-Roper’s 1976 bestseller Hermit of Peking, which accused Backhouse of fraudulence and forgery. This work, written shortly before the author’s death in 1943, was dismissed by Trevor-Roper as nothing more than a pornographic novelette and lay for decades forgotten and unpublished in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Yet even the most incredible tales deserve at least a second opinion. This edition, created using a combination of the three original manuscripts held by the Bodleian, has been comprehensively annotated, fully translated and features an introduction by editor Derek Sandhaus, urging a reappraisal of Backhouse’s legacy. Alternately shocking and lyrical, Decadence Mandchoue is the masterwork of a linguistic genius; a tremendous literary achievement and a sensational account of the inner workings of the Manchu dynasty in the years before its collapse in 1911. If true, Backhouse’s chronicle completely reshapes contemporary historians’ understanding of the era, and provides an account of the Empress Dowager and her inner circle that can only be described as intimate.

And here are some reviews from Amazon.

It's a difficult read because of the language, (the English and various Chinese, Italian and French terminology, names, phrases, references) and gazillion footnotes. But nevertheless fascinating. I think it's the kind of book you read bit here and there throughout a period of time.


Chasing the Monks' Shadow by Mishi Saran, a lovely friend whom I first met in Hong Kong years ago and has been living in Shanghai for the past 8 years or more. She gave me the book last year but I never got around to reading it till just. This is her first book, she has since written another and is working on her 3rd. 


Notes to follow .....

January 2013

I love John Connolly. I read all his books. He is the only writer I actually diligently follow and have read all his books and loved all of them. I don't know why, but maybe it's because I organized his book event in Hong Kong but maybe I just really like his style! 

Listening and running in the gym to McFly. Yes they are a boy band. Apart from Take That I have never liked any other but I have a lot of time for McFly, they are totally under-rated. They write their own music, play instruments and are bloody good performers. Well I think so!